Chapter 101 – Meeting (8)
The Great Mage Returns after 4000 Years – Chapter 101 – Meeting (8)
Editors: Ana_Banana, Yahiko
“Another one died?”
“I-, I’m sorry.”
The Marquis’ face turned red.
Then, he threw the glass of wine that he had been drinking at the subordinate who brought the report, causing the sparkling glass to shatter.
The subordinate didn’t get hurt since he was wearing a helmet, but as a Knight, he still felt humiliated to be treated in such a way.
However, the Knight simply deepened his bow with a servile smile on his face, not daring to show any dissatisfaction.
Dalaman’s bloated body was quite large.
Although he was an outstanding Knight who had crossed the threshold of the Master class in the past, his body, which had been soaked in the pleasure of retirement, had become large like a pig’s.
“Haven’t I told you to handle the Elves with care? Do you know how much even a single one of them is worth?”
Dalaman gritted his teeth in frustration.
The value of Elves was so high that they were easily one of the ten most expensive types of slaves to purchase around the world.
With beautiful appearances, long lasting youth and even high spiritual talent, it would’ve been strange if their value wasn’t high.
Of course, there were also some drawbacks.
They were quite difficult to maintain.
They were used to living in the forest, and they even drew energy from nature, so if that energy wasn’t replenished regularly, they would die quickly.
They were also quite tricky to ‘tame’ as they were a proud race who looked down on everyone else.
Of course, there were many kinky nobles who loved that particular trait.
There was a reason why Elven slaves bought by nobles didn’t last more than five years at best.
Of course, this was a good thing for Dalaman.
When a slave died, their master would simply come to him to buy another one.
But now, out of the 10 Elven slaves that he had taken a lot of effort to capture, three had already died.
Two of which were female, which made the loss all the more painful.
“I need to calm down.”
Dalaman looked toward the attendant standing beside him before saying.
“Prepare some alcohol and meat.”
The attendant shivered after hearing those words.
That was because they knew what kind of ‘meat’ Dalaman was referring to.
“Didn’t you just hear that fool’s report?”
“…S-, sorry. I’ll do as Master has ordered.”
Dalaman swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
Elven meat was the delicacy among delicacies. (TL:…wtf…?)
But it wasn’t just Elves.
Dalaman also enjoyed eating the flesh of Dwarves, Beastkin, and even Humans.
He was under the impression that he was quite the gourmet foodie.
Just as Dalaman rose from his seat with a bottle of alcohol.
The Knight, who he had thrown the wine glass at, came back.
Anger once again erupted on Dalaman’s face.
“If you came to tell me another slave died…”
“Th-, there’s an intruder.”
At that moment, Dalaman wondered if he’d heard wrong.
This was natural.
It had been more than 20 years since he had invested in the slave trade, and in that time, not once had there been any intruders.
He always made sure to handle the rats who might’ve known too much after completing each deal.
But Dalaman simply shook his hand in annoyance.
“Just deal with it quickly.”
It was clear that the guards he’d hired didn’t know how to deal with intruders, so they had come to bother him with such things.
They really were useless.
Dalaman clicked his tongue.
They had been cheap, but it wasn’t like he couldn’t afford to spend more now.
‘Should I just hire better guards…’
He felt that it would’ve been better to spend some more money.
As he thought this, Dalaman turned to see that the Knight who had reported to him still hadn’t left.
Instead, he was sweating and stuttering incoherently.
“What is it?”
Now he was truly angry.
Dalaman began wondering as to how he could punish the Knight to make up for the annoyance.
“A-, all the Knights have been annihilated.”
Dalaman’s expression stiffened.
This happened just as the wall crumbled with a loud explosion.
* * *
A man wearing a robe and a mask appeared from the dust cloud created by the explosion.
The mask was a crying face, but it didn’t feel like it was mourning at all.
Instead, the clown-like mask gave a very ridiculous feeling.
If it weren’t for the current situation, it was quite possible that Dalaman would have burst into laughter.
However, he couldn’t laugh right now.
Not even a little.
The man walked forward at a slow, steady pace, without saying a word.
“Wh-, who are you?”
Dalaman’s face was red as he asked this question.
“You’re Marquis Dalaman.”
“I asked who you were…”
Frey didn’t feel like he had to answer.
It was then.
The attendant beside the Marquis leapt toward Frey at a tremendous speed, his teeth lengthening visibly.
The instantaneous speed wasn’t something that could be ignored, but Frey didn’t so much as twitch.
He didn’t need to.
An electric current shot through the body of the attendant who had been rushing toward Frey.
This was an ability that Lukes, the Apostle of Indra that Frey had fought in the past, had used.
Frey’s barrier was not as conspicuous as Lukes’. At first glance, it was almost impossible to even tell it was there.
However, the barrier was much stronger than Lukes’.
The attendant fell to the ground, their entire body burned black.
They had died immediately.
Dalaman’s expression became stiff to the point where it looked like he was wearing a mask on his face.
Only then had he truly come to understand his situation.
“Do you think you’ll be able to get away with this?”
“Guys like you always say the same things.”
Frey muttered in a calm tone.
Dalaman then swung his hand at the Knight who had come to report to him.
“What are you waiting for?! Go kill him!”
The Knight shivered and drew his sword.
However, in the same instant, a bolt of lightning shot out from Frey and pierced his body.
He died without being able to make a sound, just like the other Knights.
Now, Dalaman was the only one left.
“Wh-, what do you want?”
Dalaman’s eyes rolled frantically in his head.
He couldn’t tell what kind of power this person was using, but he was certain he could be killed in an instant.
Still, they had kept him alive.
There must have been a reason.
He was almost certain that it was his identity. After all, he was a Marquis of the great Luanoble Kingdom.
‘He probably doesn’t have the confidence to kill me.’
When he thought this, Dalaman’s face regained a little color.
“Right. There’s something I want.”
“T-, tell me what it is. As, as long as you spare my life-”
Frey wanted him to suffer.
Unlike with the others, Frey reduced the power of the current so that it wouldn’t kill him instantly.
Dalaman’s screams resounded for a long time before they eventually became hoarse.
He didn’t last as long as Frey thought he would.
After some time, Dalaman’s eyes closed, and Frey realised he was dying.
He didn’t have a habit of torturing people.
After all, he couldn’t derive any pleasure from hearing people scream.
Frey realised he had vented his anger, but it didn’t really make him feel better.
Frey left the castle and looked at the large clearing.
Riki appeared beside him.
He was looking at the slaves trapped in the cages.
“What are you going to do about them?”
“Are you just going to leave them in the middle of the Luanoble Kingdom?”
Frey looked at the slaves.
He couldn’t even see a sliver of hope on their faces.
Dalaman and his subordinates were all dead, but the slaves couldn’t even pretend to be happy.
They had already lost their will to live.
Frey left the responsibility to Riki.
He didn’t believe Riki made him save them without considering the aftermath.
‘I could take them somewhere safe with Warp.’
However, that would completely defeat the purpose of using his divine power to mask his mana’s aura.
Riki jumped down to the clearing.
Then he approached them and drew his sword.
His swordsmanship was incredibly precise.
However, the slaves didn’t appear happy that their restraints had been broken.
They simply looked at Riki with dead eyes.
“You are free now.”
“…what is freedom?”
It was a Beastlkin man who asked this in a hoarse voice.
He looked at the pile of corpses and said.
“My younger brother is there. He lived like a puppet for the humans and still died. And it’s not just my brother. Out of my twenty relatives, only five are left.”
Tears of blood fell from his eyes.
“So please tell me. What is freedom?”
“At least, it is not death.”
Riki’s tone was the same as usual.
“I know you’ve lost a lot. And that you have scars that will take the rest of your lives to heal.”
“Don’t try to console us!”
The Beastkin man opened his eyes and shouted.
He knew Riki was extraordinary.
He knew that he could kill him with just a finger.
But still, he didn’t restrain his anger.
From the start, this was not something he wanted.
“It’s not consolation.”
“…we are tired. You said death is not freedom. But for us, it would be a long rest.”
The man collapsed, and the other slaves lowered their heads at the same time.
It was like they were all agreeing with the man’s words.
Riki looked around at them before saying.
“If you want to die, you can. I will do it for you. There would be no pain. In fact, you wouldn’t even be able to tell it happened.”
Riki slowly drew his sword, the blade shining in the moonlight.
“But are you satisfied with just that?”
“…what are you talking about?”
“I’ve seen many like you. Those who wished to end their lives to escape from despair. Those who stopped moving forward. Those who gave up.”
“Gave up? You’re saying we’ve given up?”
“Isn’t that exactly what you did?”
Riki tilted his head slightly.
“I understand. I don’t want to admit it, but in the end, it’s your choice. It is something that must be respected, and it’s not something that a third party can comment on. But you should also consider it from another angle.”
“You are fortunate. Me and that man happened to be here by chance, learn what was happening to you, and have the power to kill all the people here, including the Marquis. So you were freed. But what about those who aren’t?”
Emotion slowly began to show in Riki’s voice.
“There are some who are in much worse situations than you but are still unwilling to give up.”
“So you want us to live on with gratitude for our good fortune?”
After a moment of silence, Riki asserted.
“I want you all to save them.”
“There are still many like you on this mountain. There are dozens of camps around this place, all filled with slaves.”
The Beastkin man’s body trembled.
It wasn’t just him.
As though they’d been struck by lightning, all the slaves perked up at Riki’s words.
His voice was quiet, but there was something in it that seemed to stir the spirits of everyone listening.
“To be honest, it would be much easier for you all to just die here. So if you’re not confident, speak up. I’ll send you on your way without pain, just like I said. But if you were moved even a little by what I said.”
Riki stabbed his sword into the ground.
“Then this time, you all will be their good fortune.”
* * *
Frey watched the Beastkin man and the other slaves as they left, unable to forget the look in their eyes.
There was anger, determination and a liveliness that hadn’t been there before.
And it was clear who gave them that new energy.
He was the one who gave them the will to live.
“They won’t last very long.”
It was no wonder a Marquis of the Luanoble Kingdom had been able to engage in the slave trade for such a long time.
Just as Riki had said, it was very likely that the royal family and the nobles of this kingdom were all corrupt.
And the place that these slaves had been released into was the heart of the Luanoble Kingdom.
Even if they engaged in guerilla warfare in the mountains between the cities, it wouldn’t be long before they were overpowered.
And it would take at least a month’s travel for them to get to the nearest border.
Therefore, the probability that they would be able to escape this country was less that 1 percent.
Frey was sure that Riki knew that.
“And you let them go anyway? That’s irresponsible.”
“It’s up to them now. I’ve done my part.”
Riki spoke as emotionlessly as always.
‘What is he thinking?’
He was very straightforward.
Still, there was one thing he could be certain about Riki after staying with him the last few months.
Riki was completely different from the other Demigods.
He’d especially felt it during Riki’s conversation with the Beastkin man.
“There are still more camps around here.”
This was what Frey had been told before he attacked this place.
Frey looked up the night sky and muttered.
“There’s still some time until sunrise.”
“No. That’s all for today. Marquis Dalaman is already dead, and the rest are just garbage.” (TL: any KoreanEnglishman fans?)
“Won’t the fact that Dalaman died spread soon? They’ll be expecting us.”
“That’s right. At least, they won’t be as defenseless as this group was. They’ll definitely be more prepared.”
The battle that just took place could not be called a battle; it was a massacre.
Riki had told him to use divine power as much as possible, but it was useless if it was for ‘battles’ like that.
“I still think it’s too big for the middle of the kingdom.”
“Luanoble won’t be able to move openly. Since they opened an illegal place of business in the first place, they won’t be able to send a subjugation team. Marquis Dalaman was officially supposed to be staying at his own estate during his retirement.”
Riki pointed to Lufei.
“At best, they would only be able to request reinforcements from nearby cities, so they wouldn’t be much of a threat to you.”
They were playing with mud in the first place, so even if Frey made a mess, they would have a hard time dealing with it.
Frey thought that this place was perfect for getting rid of the traces of his mana while also practicing his divine power.
“Then we’ll stay in this castle for the rest of the month.”
Frey turned and looked at the castle.
It was in a bad shape.
This was natural since he’d used his divine power to his heart’s content.
If he had known he would end up living in it he would have practiced a bit more restraint.
* * *
A month passed by quickly.
Frey destroyed the camps around him in a systematic manner.
They prepared as much as they could, but the difference in power was too stark.
In addition, as more slaves were liberated, their strength increased gradually, and they also became a threat.
Eventually, the slavers, who could not handle the pressure, abandoned their camps and ran away.
It was just as Riki had said.
Luanoble did not send any official reinforcements.
By their last day on the mountains, Frey was certain that all the remnants of Marquis Dalaman had been destroyed.
The Beastkin man bowed his head.
It seemed like after a month of fighting together, the freed slaves considered Frey to be their benefactor.
“Where will you go?”
“We’re thinking about going to the Ispania Mountains in the south.”
It was definitely the closest place they could go to.
And as the monster paradise, if they escaped to that place, the Luanoble Kingdom would not be able to pursue them.
“That’s not an easy place to live.”
“It would still be better than this one… We will definitely repay the grace you have given us.”
Frey stopped him.
“What’s your name?”
After saying that, Bekend turned around and left without looking back.
As he watched the former slaves leave, Frey spoke.
“Will the meeting start soon?”
Riki’s expression was quite relaxed as he said this.
It wouldn’t be a problem even if they left now.
Frey’s mana aura had already disappeared completely, and there was no longer anyone for them to deal with.
Frey, who was a bit puzzled, soon nodded.
“Then let’s head to the meeting.”
Riki looked at Frey with a weird expression for a moment before realising.
“It seems I forgot to tell you.”
“The place where the meeting will be held. …Hmm. Put on your mask, Frey.”
He didn’t even have to ask why.
As soon as Riki said those words, the sky suddenly split.
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